Members of the Muslim Student Association at the University of California at Irvine are being taken to court and charged with “conspiring to disrupt a meeting”, the meeting being a speech by Michael Oren, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States. Tony Rackauckas, the District Attorney in Orange County where UC Irvine is located said “there was an organized attempt to squelch the speaker” and that the students “meant to stop this speech and stop anyone else from hearing his ideas, and they did so by disrupting a lawful meeting.” The decision to prosecute is a real boost for advocates of free speech and freedom of expression in California and a welcome development in the battle to keep it alive and well in the state. It may even serve as a precedent in other jurisdictions.
Universities and colleges in California and the rest of the U.S. are not the bastions of free speech and freedom of expression they are supposed to be. Muslim and left wing students, faculty and community members routinely threaten and shut down speakers who don’t conform to their way of thinking on campuses all over the country, especially if the speakers are pro-Israel. Freedom to express viewpoints contrary to their poisonous creed doesn’t exist at most universities and colleges in America because those who dare to can count on being threatened and attacked by mobs of Islamists, “revolutionaries”, “anarchists”, “activists” and other simple minded people who believe that anyone who thinks differently than they do has no right to express themselves on their campus, regardless of how accomplished they may be in the real world or how much real knowledge and experience they have to offer. They are seen as unwanted and unworthy. Don’t believe me? Try organizing a pro-Israel event on the campus nearest you or try contradicting anti-Israel rhetoric in your local academy and see what happens. You’ll soon find out that attempts to force the closing of minds are rife everywhere.
Rackauckas also said that “We must decide whether we are a country of laws or a country of anarchy” and “We cannot tolerate a pre-planned violation of the law, even if the crime takes place on a school campus and even if the defendants are college students. In our democratic society, we cannot tolerate a deliberate, organized, repititive and collective effort to significantly disrupt a speaker who hundreds had assembled to hear.”
Tony Rackauckas should be seen as a great American hero for his effort to prevent the closing of minds and his vigorous defense of free speech and freedom of expression, which after all are two of the most fundamental principles the United States is built on and without which it cannot survive. America needs many more like him.
So does the rest of the Western world. To cite but two examples, the kind of behavior and “thinking” exhibited by the “students” in California is endemic at universities and colleges in Canada and Great Britain as well.
York University and any number of other “institutions of higher learning” in Canada anyone?
University College London and any number of other “institutions of higher learning” in Great Britain anyone?
Freedom needs a boost in those places too.